For all of its benefits, owning a dog comes with some not-so-great consequences. One of the most common and undesirable behaviors in dogs is when they eat feces. Eating poop can be gross and unsanitary, and is often the result of a lack of good nutrition or other underlying medical problems. Thankfully, there are things you can do to stop your dog from eating poop!
You may think that this article will talk about punishing your dog or limiting his/her access to feces. But you’d be wrong! There are plenty of ways to change your pup’s behavior without negative repercussions. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1. Make the Bad Vibe Go Away
Many dogs that engage in this bad behavior do so as a result of anxiety or stress. Before you start trying to curb your dog’s poop eating problem, make sure you’re not actually causing it! For example, if your dog is anxious and nervous around other dogs or humans, he/she will probably engage in whatever behavior calms him/her down. So before you start focusing on the poop eating issue, make sure he/she is feeling more at ease and secure with his/her surroundings. If you think he/she may be developing separation anxiety, try leaving him/her with a doggy daycare or a dog sitter while you’re away.
2. Separate the Good and the Bad
Another reason why dogs will eat poop is that it tastes good! Your dog may have found that eating other dogs’ feces somehow helps him/her feel better. That’s because many dogs don’t digest grass and plant matter well, and will “flavor coat” their droppings with whatever they ate. If your dog tends to eat other dogs’ poop, consider changing his/her diet to one without grains or grasses to see if it helps reduce his/her cravings.
Other foods that are likely to have an impact on how your dog eats his/her feces are veggies that are not cooked thoroughly, certain meats, and fatty foods. Also, any spices that may have been included in the food could be influencing his/her behavior. For example, many dogs have a distinct taste for garlic, so if he/she eats garlic-flavored poop, he/she may be more inclined to eat it.
3. Try Fencing It Out!
If your dog has an issue with other dogs or even people taking poop breaks around him/her, fencing around his/her area will help ease the tension. Fences reflect and block the presence and activity of other animals and people, so your dog won’t be able to see or smell them.
You can choose to install a chain-link type of fence or an electric fence. Electric fences are completely safe for dogs, but they do require constant maintenance to keep them working properly. This is because electricity does not work like water, which can drain away from a wet garden hose. If your dog leaves the boundaries of his/her fenced area for any reason, he/she will get shocked – especially if he/she is somewhere where there is nothing to prevent him/her from leaving like a park or overgrown yard.
If you’re thinking about using an electric fence, make sure that it is installed by a professional. Otherwise, you could end up with a dangerous shock instead of a preventative device.
4. Train Him/Her Good!
If you think your dog may be eating feces because he/she’s bored, take the time to train him/her well and provide plenty of mental stimulation. Fit him/her into a routine that includes plenty of attention and exercise, and make sure he/she gets enough playtime to tire him/her out before going to bed. If he/she’s hungry, feed him/her a “puppy meal” of treats so he/she has something to focus on instead of his/her feeding.
Also, don’t give him/her any more attention for doing bad things than you would if he/she did something good! If you scold or punish your dog for eating feces, your dog will associate this behavior with praise, which can actually make it easier for him/her to do it in the future. So if you catch him/her pooping without permission, ignore it and don’t reward the behavior.
5. Find Enzyme Cleaner To Get Rid Of The Taste And Smell!
Some dogs can become confused about their surroundings when they are sick or injured and unable to feel pain. If your dog is old or has another medical issue that may be affecting his/her behavior, consider asking your vet if this is a possibility.
If it seems like he/she’s OK and just likes to eat poop no matter what you do, you can use a product called enzyme cleaner to get rid of the scent and taste of feces. Enzymes can reduce the odor and taste associated with feces in dogs. There are special dog-friendly versions of enzyme cleaners available online or at pet stores which you can add to your pet’s water or food bowl. Be sure to check with your vet first, though, as some antacids can be toxic to dogs.
If you can’t find any enzyme cleaners that are safe for your pup, you can just find a product that removes the odor of feces. This will be most effective if it is used immediately after your dog has defecated, so don’t give up too soon if you have to. Keep trying until you find something that works!
6. Try Out a Dog Poop Bag!
While some people may think of poop bags as a gag gift, they can actually be an effective and easy method to curb dog poop eating behavior. Designed like a leash for your dog, these bags allow you to detect when they leave their waste and keep it contained, helping to prevent the spread of disease and unwanted smells. If you choose to use them as a training tool as well as a way to manage your dog’s excreted waste, you can attach one directly around your pup’s neck so that he/she’ll know it’s time to go outside.
This is most effective when used in conjunction with regular poop scooping sessions, which you can do yourself by keeping your dog’s bedding area clean and feces-free. Also, be sure to change his/her bedding or wash it regularly to prevent any lingering smell.
Unfortunately, dogs will sometimes eat their own feces and other pets’ poop and it is not just a problem for your dog. It has been seen that some dogs will keep eating their poop until they vomit or choke. This is not only unpleasant for your dog but also dangerous as there could be pathogens in their system such as salmonella, e-coli, or giardia.
How can you stop your dog from eating poop? With the above-mentioned tips, practice, patience, and consistency with training exercises can stop your dog from eating avoid his/her feces. If you think your dog is eating feces because he/she’s bored, take the time to train him/her well and provide plenty of mental stimulation. If you’re not sure what to do, contact a dog behaviorist near you for help.
Thank you for reading the article.
To explore more, check out our other articles covering everything about dog poop.
Have you ever seen your dog eating their own poop? What actions did you take to prevent them from further eating? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!